Richard Garriott, the creator of the "Ultima" series, announced his new project Friday with a Kickstarter rollout of "Shroud of the Avatar". The PC, Mac and Linux game is planned as an episodic co-operative role-playing game that focuses on character creation and role-playing over level grinding.
The not-so-massively multiplayer online RPG has been in development at Garriott's new studios, Portalarium, for less than a year. The game can be played online with "tens of people" or played solo offline. The first episode is titled "Forsaken Virtue" and is currently scheduled for an October 2014 release following alpha and beta testing scheduled to start in December 2013.
"Shroud of the Avatar" will use a class-less character system with players utilizing a "familiar psychological profiling" used to create their characters. Player behavior will drive the game world with it changing based on the player's actions and decisions.
"Once players are introduced to the game, they will discover their own story woven into the immersive world and lore surrounding them," the Kickstarter page reads. "Players may choose to follow the life of the adventurer or, if they prefer, focus on exploration and discovery. Players may even choose the life of a homesteader; either nestled within the safety of the settled lands, or on the dangerous but potentially lucrative frontier. The world is full of opportunities and challenges!"
The game is divided between an overworld and "adventure scenes" that players can tackle solo or with friends. Portalarium also promises player housing in both villages and cities with property value and even taxes dependent on the location. A crafting system will be present as well as a "meaningful" PvP system.
Portalarium and Garriott are currently seeking $1 million in pledges on Kickstarter to get "Shroud of the Avatar" funded and launched. There are various in-game and physical enticements for potential pledgers including the always coveted cloth map and a rent-free home in-game. You can check out the game and the various pledge levels on Kickstarter.